"Oh, how far I have fallen!"
That's what I told my wife a few minutes ago when I returned from a one-mile bike ride. Yes. That is not a typo. I meant to say: "One-Mile."
You see, as I sit here, my legs feel a little like limp spaghetti. I got a bit winded. I even got a touch sweaty in the 60-degree air. I just rode to the end of the road and back! All I can think now is WOW!
Let's scroll back four years. It was mid-September 2009. I'd been training all summer, and I'd successfully completed a 108-mile single day ride. I was in one of the best conditions of my life. I was feeling great!
Then, I tore my right achilles tendon.
Folks, that injury takes a long time to heal...period. After surgery, and weeks in a cast and on crutches, I had lost ALL strength in that leg. It took months and months to gain any semblance of it back. Then, the left achilles tendon started acting up. It never tore, but it got very sore and tight which made me very afraid to put much pressure on it. Weakness and fear led to inactivity. Inactivity led to gained weight. Gained weight and inactivity has led to additional weakness. I've gotten to the point that I just don't feel good physically in almost any respect.
It is a terrible spiral.
Finally, this last fall, I decided to break the cycle. I saw a surgeon (Dr. Wendy Winkelbach) at the Southside Foot Clinic in Greenwood, Indiana, and I asked her if there was something we could do BEFORE my left achilles tore to fix the problem. After some discussions and an MRI, she said that she could in fact take some preemptive measures to loosen up the tendon by lengthening it. I had that procedure at the end of December, and now I'm ready to begin the journey back to fitness and health. I am ready to once again become a cyclist.
Today, I picked a new bike at BGI-Indy. A new Trek flatbar bike that I plan to use in my climb back to health. It is my short-ride bike, and will be my primary bike until I can get my distance back up to ten miles or more. And, my goal is to build myself back up to the point that I could attempt a 50-miler by September of this coming fall.
Each journey begins with a single step. Or, in my case a one-mile bike ride. I've got to start slow and cautiously; being careful and thoughtful in the process. I'm the tortoise, but I plan to use this summer to morph back into the hare.
And the journey begins.